Patterico's Pontifications


Marie Harf Won’t Be Top Mouth At State

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:33 pm

That’s what she gets for saying what Obama actually thinks.

Rudy Giuliani: Obama Doesn’t Love the United States

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

Rudy Giuliani says Obama doesn’t love this country:

Rudy Giuliani went straight for the jugular Wednesday night during a private group dinner here featuring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by openly questioning whether President Barack Obama “loves America.”

The former New York mayor, speaking in front of the 2016 Republican presidential contender and about 60 right-leaning business executives and conservative media types, directly challenged Obama’s patriotism, discussing what he called weak foreign policy decisions and questionable public remarks when confronting terrorists.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

This story reminds me that I need to bore all of you with a thorough review and summary of Thomas Sowell’s “A Conflict of Visions.” I think it was a mistake to try to discuss the book in a piecemeal fashion — and even summarizing it all in one place may end up being a mistake — but it’s stories like this that remind me why the book was so revelatory to me.

I am, once again, making the mistake of taking a passage from the book and discussing it piecemeal, but this passage from Sowell’s book bears directly on Giuliani’s quote, and spoke to me:

Sincerity holds no such place of honor in the constrained vision. Those with this vision often readily concede sincerity to their adversaries, treating it as an individual virtue of minor social benefit — and sometimes as a major aggravating factor, when people persist in socially counterproductive ideals.

Sowell goes on to say that those with the constrained vision are more concerned with fidelity to one’s role in life, and in carrying out that role as part of a system.

This passage doesn’t completely describe my feelings about “sincerity” on a personal level, but it describes it pretty well when it comes to politicians.

On a personal level, like most people, I prefer to deal with people who are sincere. Holden Caulfield’s denunciation of “phonies” struck a chord with me as a teenager, and I am certainly not alone in that respect. Few things irritate me more than glad-handing insincere people.

But I think Sowell’s description here is directed more at solving society’s problems. And it helps me understand better why I get bored and turned off by discussions about how such and such Democrat person is insincere, and hates America, and is trying to destroy our way of life. And if I don’t sign on to such sentiments, then I am Less Conservative than the next guy, and don’t really care as much about the country as the next guy. Because the next guy has always said that such and such Democrat politician is the devil incarnate, so you can’t question his bona fides, no sir!

I generally come away from such discussions irritated. I have no doubt that the world is crammed full of sincere Marxists who believe that their vision is best for the world. Present me a choice between one of those sincere Marxists, on one hand, and an insincere Republican who I believe will mostly carry out policies that favor the free market, on the other — and I will choose the insincere Republican every time.

Every time.

It’s far more important to me that Barack Obama continues the policies of corporate welfare; that he backs the Fed’s creation of a new asset bubble; that he continues government takeover of our lives . . . all of this matters to me far more than a discussion of whether he loves our country.

Over Barack Obama’s time in office I have grown to personally dislike the man on a fundamental level. I always knew his policies were disastrous, but I have come to see him as incredibly narcissistic, self-absorbed, and yes, insincere. You’re not going to find me sticking up for the guy or talking about how wonderful he is. You may or may not have noticed, but I don’t even call him “President Obama” any more, because I have totally lost respect for him.

But to me, all of that is secondary. The main problem is that his policies are terrible. I think discussions about whether he loves this country are wonderful red meat, but ultimately pointless.

Your mileage may vary; for many of you, I know it does. I’m not criticizing your point of view so much as trying to explain my own.

But I think Sowell’s constrained/unconstrained dichotomy, if understood properly, can help people from the unconstrained vision understand why saying “I’m not saying so-and-so is a bad guy” is not an endorsement of so-and-so. For those from the constrained vision, it’s the equivalent of “bless his heart” — it means the dagger is coming, and that dagger is: but his policies are a disaster, because he is trying to plan our economy like a Communist apparatchik rather than let the free market perform its magic.

For someone from the constrained vision, that argument, and not “he doesn’t love his country,” is the ultimate criticism.

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